Ag Awareness Coalition and Festivals
With continued urban growth, many youth do not have as much exposure to agriculture as in the past. Many communities are losing touch with Nebraska's greatest resource - agriculture. The Agricultural Awareness Festival provides an opportunity for youth to take a close-up look at agriculture.
The Ag Awareness Festival is sponsored by the Agricultural Awareness Coalition of Nebraska. The goal of the Agricultural Awareness Coalition is to help youth (predominantly urban) become aware of agriculture. The group develops resources and opportunities that will increase youth understanding and awareness about agriculture concepts.
About the Coalition and Sponsors
Current coalition members and sponsors include: Educational Service Unit #3/Gifford Farm, Farmers National Company, Nebraska Ag in the Classroom, Nebraska Beef Council, Nebraska Soybean Board, Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Pork Producers, Midwest Dairy Association, Omaha Agribusiness Club, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Agricultural Research & Development Center, and University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension (Douglas/Sarpy, Lancaster, and Saunders Counties).
15,121 Students Attended Ag Awareness Festivals
The first fall festival was held in 1996 at the UNL's Agricultural Research and Development Center (ARDC) near Mead, Nebraska. The one-day event served as a pilot project for 200 Omaha Public School sixth-graders. It has since grown to four days annually and hosted up to 950 fourth-grade students, primarily from Douglas, Sarpy and Saunders Counties.
Over 10,979 students have attended the fall festival from 1996-2011. In an effort to reach more urban youth, a spring festival was added in 2001 at the Lancaster County Event Center in Lincoln. This festival is primarily for Lancaster County youth. It, too, started as a one-day festival and has grown to 2 days.
Over 4,100 students have attended the spring festival. At the festivals, students learn about beef production/products and food safety, ruminant nutrition, dairy production/products and nutrition, grain production/products, farming technology, and swine. Horses, poultry, goats, and horticulture have also been included, depending on the time available.
Students and teachers consistently give the festivals excellent reviews.